Columbian seniors honor mentors
Ten students honored people who helped them get through high school and move forward Thursday.
During Tiffin City Schools Excellence in Education dinner, Columbian High School’s top 10 seniors spoke about people who had the most impact on them.
Many of the contributors were coaches, teachers and mentors for the students — and some served as all three.
• Cana Ingalls recognized track coach Nikki Hintze, who also is executive director of online and graduate programs at Tiffin University.
“When first seeing coach Nikki, I was intimidated, but I began to look up to her like a sister,” Ingalls said.
By continuing to challenge her, Ingalls said Hintze made her a better runner, daughter, sister and student.
• Jada Reaves recognized coach and teacher Amy Cooper.
Reaves said she met Cooper in seventh grade during tryouts. During tryouts, Reaves said Cooper offered tips on how to make the basketball team and then stayed with her, helping with drills and practices.
“She also encouraged me to try new things,” Reaves said.
Reaves gave track and field and volleyball a try.
“She pushed me to try something new because you never know when you might like something,” she said.
• Cheyanne Heyman met her contributor when she was in elementary school.
Heyman recognized Doug Hartenstein, Columbian’s principal. But when Heyman met him, Hartenstein was her elementary principal.
“Elementary school is the prime time to be influenced by someone,” Heyman said. “Mr. Hartenstien, before each day started, would greet each and every student by name. It may seem small in your eyes, but it wasn’t for me.”
She said Hartenstein inspired her to be her best.
• “You are given the ability to hear the messages you need to hear at the time you most need to hear them,” Shayla Thomas said of her mentor, Kathy Miller.
Miller has been Thomas’ ballet teacher and instilled the lessons of confidence, pushing through hard times and letting go and being enough.
• Jennifer Musgrave was much more to Bennett Klepper than a high school English teacher.
Klepper said Musgrave inspired students to think deeper about the material and dedicated her time to help with test preparation.
Klepper said she also helped him write an essay that got him into his dream college.
“I can’t put the impact she made into words,” Klepper said. “A small speech does not do her justice.”
• Lydia Bruno also recognized her high school English teacher, Katharine Wrabel.
Bruno said Wrable’s introduction to classic novels shaped the way she thinks.
One lesson Bruno said Wrable teaches her students is that “the answer is always there.”
• It was the smiling face of Mark Ingalls, basketball coach and high school Spanish teacher, that helped Hannah Treadway through challenging moments.
“I was not gifted with the game of ball and hoop,” Treadway said. “But it was (Mr. Ingalls’) smiling face that got me through every drill. He taught me to always keep shooting, you never know when you might score.”
Treadway said Ingalls also taught her that if you want something, you have to fight for it.
• Daniel Bupp recognized football coach Daniel Gilbert.
Bupp said he grew close to Gilbert having him as a coach, health teacher, basketball teammate and rival and lifting coach.
“Coach Gilbert not only taught me about fitness and health. but about life that will carry on with me for years to come,” he said.
• Ashley Dewitt came into Madison Zimmerman’s life three years ago as her basketball coach.
Zimmerman said Dewitt is one of the strongest women she has known and is a coach, friend, mentor, role model and family member.
“(Dewitt) always believed in me,” Zimmerman said. “She helped me gain confidence in myself.”
Zimmerman said Dewitt always supported her through her athletic career. When Zimmerman suffered an injury, Dewitt was there.
But it was Dewitt’s resilience and strength to be there for her sister, who was diagnosed with cancer, that inspired Zimmerman the most.
“Their relationship was so inspiring,” she said. “Seeing you carrying that strength has shaped the woman I am today.”
• Eden Stephey was influenced by the idea of education from tennis coach Chip Weingart.
Through constantly quizzing her and teammates, Stephey said she learned to have an appreciation and desire for education.
“We all learned what character looks like and, as a team, we will mirror that for the rest of our lives,” she said.